Dogs are more at risk of grass seeds getting stuck in their eyes, ears, skin and paws than from eating the grass itself – owners have been urged to stay vigilant throughout the summer months
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When an owner spots their dog eating grass, many worry they’re trying to make themselves sick to get rid of something they’ve eaten which they didn’t agree with them.
Whereas others think their dog is eating grass because they’re feeling under the weather or are lacking in some nutrients.
However, studies have shown it is far more likely that dogs eat grass simply because it tastes nice, especially when it is freshly grown in the spring and summer months.
A Blue Cross statement reads: “There shouldn’t be any need to worry about this if the habit doesn’t become excessive, the grass they’re munching on has not been sprayed with harmful pesticides and you have talked to your vet to get treatment to ensure your dog is protected from lungworm, which is passed on by slugs and snails.
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“Bear in mind that standard flea and worm treatments sold in pet shops do not normally protect against lungworm.
“Your dog might also be eating grass because they are bored. If this is the case, look into how to provide better enrichment for them through walks as well as indoor and outdoor play, including food puzzles.”
However, owners should contact their vet immediately if their dog is eating grass instead of their usual food, or if they don’t seem themselves or appear unwell.
A statement warns: “Grass seeds found in long grass can get stuck in eyes, ears, skin and paws, which can cause problems, particularly during the summer months.
“All dogs can be affected by grass seeds, but they cause much more of a problem in breeds with feathery toes that enjoy bounding through long grass, such as springer spaniels.
“It is a good idea for owners to check the bits of their dogs with long hair, in particular the feet and ears, after exercise – especially if you have walked through areas with long grass.”
Dogs who have seeds stuck inside their paws usually lick at them constantly, while dogs with seeds lodged in their ears may start shaking their head in an attempt to dislodge it.
“If you get back from a walk and notice a grass seed in the coat or on the surface of your dog’s skin, remove it straight away,” the statement adds.
“But if you spot a seed that has started to burrow into your dog’s skin, or if your dog is licking or chewing at a sore place, or think your pet might have a seed in his or her eyes or ears, contact your vet. “
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.